Katya Kazakina’s profile of the “new” Phillips smartly homes in on the company’s secret weapon, Aurel Bacs who remains the world’s leading watch auctioneer after leaving Christie’s:
“The reason why I am doing this is the appeal to work in partnership with Ed Dolman,” said Aurel Bacs, who helped launch Phillips’s watch department in 2014. “He could have called me and said, ‘I work for a supermarket chain and we want to do watch auctions.”’ […]
One of Dolman’s first steps was to partner with Bacs & Russo, whose co-founders Bacs and Livia Russo spent a decade leading Christie’s international watch department.
The group decided to mix it up with inaugural sales on May 9 and 10 that were held in a packed tent in a parking lot outside Geneva rather than a hotel ballroom, Bacs said in a phone interview. Bidding for the top lot, a 1927 Patek Philippe single button chronograph, took 21 minutes, with the final price of 4.6 million Swiss francs more than double the high estimate of 2 million Swiss francs.
Bacs offered fewer lots than his rivals, and the sale tallied 29.6 million Swiss francs ($31.8 million), more than Sotheby’s and Christie’s combined during their similar events.
“We were testing a new formula,” Bacs, 43, said. “We did what we always thought should have been done. And now under Ed we can do it.”
How Those ‘Dudes’ at Phillips Are Revamping the Auction House (Bloomberg Business)